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The best public swimming pools in Chicago

Ready to try on that new bathing suit? Splash into our list of the best public pools in Chicago for swimming, diving and relaxing this summer

Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Parks

When you’re wiped out from a day of street fests or patio drinking, there’s nothing better than kicking back by the pool. And while Chicago has no shortage of gorgeous beaches, sometimes the trek just isn’t in the cards. That’s where public pools are real lifesavers. Chances are, you’ve got a pool in your neighborhood, but you'll have to get there early to stake out a spot. Whether you’re swimming laps, splashing around with the kids or working on your tan, these public pools are all perfect spots to spend a summer afternoon.

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Altgeld Park

Head to this five-lane West Side pool to splash around as you observe vehicles driving in and out of the city on the scenic Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway. Amenities: ADA Lift, Zero Depth Entry/Ramp, Showers, Locker Rooms

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East Garfield Park

Armour Square Park

Located just north of Cellular Field, the pool at Armour Square Park provides the perfect opportunity to cool down after an exciting ballgame. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers Locker Rooms

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Armour Square

Avalon Park

Public pools with water slides are few and far between, but a trip down to Avalon Park will allow to try one of the handful that exist in the city. Amenities: Showers, Locker Rooms

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Avalon Park
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California Park

The 50-yard, six-lane pool at California Park holds lap swim seven days a week. The park's staff even haul out kickboards, pull buoys and a pace clock. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Irving Park

Chase Park

This Upwtown swimming hole is a great place to cool off on a hot day and offers views of intense matches taking place on the adjacent tennis courts. Amenities: ADA Lift, Zero Depth Entry/Ramp, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Uptown

Columbus Park

Situated in the spacious Columbus Park on the West Side, this pool is big enough to acomodate a crowd of swimmers and is deep enough (11 feet) for divers. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Austin
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Douglas Park

There are plenty of things to see and do in the spacious, 218-acre Douglas Park, but we recommend hitting the pool, which you'll find directly next to the fieldhouse. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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North Lawndale

Dvorak Park

Pilsen residents flock to this park to celebrate Mexican Independence Day and Fiesta Del Sol. You'll want to get to the pool to celebrate the beginning, middle and end of summer. Amenities: ADA Lift, Zero Depth Entry/Ramp, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Lower West Side

Franklin Park

This North Lawndale pool is large enough for swimming laps or splashing around with the kids on a hot summer day. The park's playground also features an interactive water spray pool. Amenities: Showers, Locker Rooms

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North Lawndale
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Fuller Park

Fuller Park may look like a fancy estate, but its facilities are open to the public. That includes the pool, which is located next to the spaceous baseball field. The park also has an interactive water spray pool for the kids. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Fuller Park

Garfield Park

It's entirely possible to spend a day in Garfield Park without noticing that there's a pool nearby. Once you're done walking through the conservatory, head toward the gold-domed field house, where you'll find one of the city's most tucked-away swimming spots. Amenities: Showers, Locker Rooms

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East Garfield Park

Hamlin Park

Located near Roscoe Village, the outdoor pool at Hamlin Park is one of our favorite places for a quiet swim on the North Side. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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North Center
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Holstein Park

Single folks: Ditch the pickup joints, slap on some self-tanner and head to Holstein Park. Its 50-yard pool is a magnet for Bucktown singles. Amenities: ADA Lift, Zero Depth Entry/Ramp, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Bucktown

Humboldt Park

You might be tempted to take a dip in one of Humboldt Park's lagoons, but you'll miss out on the water slide—the most popular feature of this park's pool. Amenities: Water Slide, ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Humboldt Park

Jefferson Memorial Park

Hop off the Blue Line at the Jefferson Park Transit Center and you're just a block away from this community pool, where you can swim off the calories after a visit to Superdawg or Leadbelly. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Room

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Jefferson Park
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McKinley Park

Opened in 1902, McKinley Park was created to introduce some breathing room to overcrowded neighborhoods with no parks.The nicely landscaped park has a 30-meter, unheated pool and a separate water playground for kids. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Mckinley Park

Norwood Park

The only thing that trumps a Slip ’N Slide for summertime fun is a real live water slide. And we don’t mean a wimpy, five-foot wobbly wanna-be. We’re talking a full-fledged winding slide with sharp turns—one so high, you have to ascend a flight of stairs to get on board. Amenities: Water Slide, ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Norwood Park

Portage Park

Portage Park houses an Olympic-size pool so cush it played host to the 1972 Olympic swimming trials. The pool’s best feature is its 25-meter diving well, home to a diving platform so high you’ll have to reposition your swimsuit before you exit the water. Amenities: Water Playground, ADA Stairs, ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Portage Park
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Pulaski Park

Located near Wicker Park and Bucktown, this 30-meter public pool is a popular destination for kids (and their guardians) during the hot summer months. The park also has an interactive spray feature for kids. Amenities: ADA Lift, Zero Depth Entry/Ramp, Showers, Locker Rooms

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River West/West Town

Rehm Park

Take the kids to this Oak Park pool and enjoy a separate wading pool, a multi-level spray play feature, a diving well with drop slides, one meter diving boards, and a 5 meter diving tower. Daily admission is $10. Amenities: ADA Lift, Zero Depth Entry/Ramp, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Oak Park

River Park

River Park's 30-meter unheated pool, a favorite with lap swimmers, features a diving well, a water playground for kids and ample deck space with umbrella-covered tables. Amenities: ADA Stairs, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Lincoln Square
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Sherman Park

The majority of Sherman Park is an island in the middle of the city, surrounded by an artificial river. The park's pool can be found on the north side of the park, and you won't have to swim across a channel to get to it. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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New City

Smith Park

Visitors to this West Town park can take a few laps around the soccer pitch before diving into Smith Park's ample 25-yard pool or cooling off in the water spray feature. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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River West/West Town

Union Park

Want to take a lunchtime dip? Union Park is less than ten minutes away from the Loop on the Green Line. You’ll be in the water by 12:15pm, which leaves you more than a half hour for aquatic horseplay before you have to head back to the office. Amenities: ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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West Loop
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Washington Park

A park this grand deserves an exceptional pool. How about a 50-meter heated pool surrounded by an enormous deck, complete with stadium seating. Connected to the main pool is a kidney-shaped side pool with a zero-depth entrance that gradually gets deeper. Amenities: Water Slide, ADA Lift, Showers, Locker Rooms

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Washington Park

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